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Apartment House: Wolff, Cage, ‘Performing Indeterminacy’, University of Leeds, 1 July 2017

  • Oliver Thurley


At the beginning of July, the University of Leeds played host to the ‘Performing Indeterminacy’ conference: a series of talks, panels and concerts that are part of a research project on John Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957–58), led by Philip Thomas and Martin Iddon. In the middle of all this, Apartment House presented what many consider the pinnacle of Cage's indeterminate work alongside a new commission from Christian Wolff, the last surviving member of the New York School composers. Resistance (2016–17), Wolff's new work ‘for 10 or more players and a pianist’, was written in response to Cage's Concert, sharing elements of its instrumentation and schema. In Leeds’ Clothworkers Hall, Apartment House – led by Anton Lukoszevieze – premiered the new piece alongside its progenitor, composed some 59 years apart. At the heart of both pieces in this concert is Philip Thomas at the piano. The conscientiousness and exactitude that Thomas brings to the music of both Cage and Wolff (having worked closely with the latter over the past 15 years) make him, perhaps, the ideal soloist for this programme. Quite simply, it is a line-up that could not have come about through chance procedure.



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1 Thomas has discussed his approach to realising the Solo for Piano elsewhere, see Thomas, Philip, ‘Understanding Indeterminate Music through Performance: Cage's Solo for Piano ’, Twentieth-CenturyMusic 10/1 (2013), pp. 91113 .

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Apartment House: Wolff, Cage, ‘Performing Indeterminacy’, University of Leeds, 1 July 2017

  • Oliver Thurley


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